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Fighting Buddhists

Buddhists in court after coming to blows over tea at weekend retreat
21 September 2015 16:22 BST
A pair of Buddhists ended up in court after falling out over a cup of tea and coming to blows at a weekend retreat for fellow worshippers.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard the two men from Glasgow joined other Buddhists to travel from the central belt for a religious gathering near Nairn.

Robert Jenner, 50, and Raymond Storey, 47, made the journey north with others in May but the court was told that there was animosity between the pair before they arrived at Andrew Newlands’ home at Hazelwood, Laikenbuie.

After tensions escalated into violence, Mr Jenner was accused of assaulting Mr Storey by punching him in the face but denied the charge, saying he had acted in self-defence.

Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood heard the case in full but found the charge not proven.

The court heard that after the initial journey together the acrimony continued on the morning of May 9 while Mr Jenner was in the kitchen making a cup of tea and Mr Storey walked in.

Mr Storey told Sheriff Fleetwood: “He poured boiling water into his cup but not mine. I swore at him and called him ignorant. I grabbed his cup and poured the water into mine, spilling some of it.

“I didn’t see him again until later that night when he came up to me wanting to talk about the incident. I was calm by that time although I must have still been upset.

“I was having another cup of tea and a smoke of my e-cigarette and didn’t want to talk to him. I did not swear at him and moved back towards the building.

“I showed no aggression towards him at all. It was then that he assaulted me. He punched me several times on the head.

“I had swelling on my face and my lip was burst. It later required stitches. I hit him over the head with my cup and asked him, ‘Is this how you practice the dharma?’ (dharma is a doctrine of universal truth practised by Buddhists).

“Then he said that I had attacked him. I showed no aggression towards him whatsoever.”

The court heard Mr Storey later told police: “It must have been ego-driven insecurity. I am a bit intellectual and Robert is dyslexic. I have always felt he had a bit of an issue towards me.”

But Mr Storey later admitted to defence lawyer Raymond McIlwham that he had threatened to “kill” Mr Jenner as a friend’s car passed his alleged attacker on the way to hospital for treatment.

He added: “I was still very very angry at this point.”

Mr Jenner, of Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, denied assaulting Mr Storey, lodging a special defence of self-defence, claiming that he was first attacked with the teacup. He declined to give evidence on his own behalf.

No one else witnessed the alleged assault and sheriff Fleetwood said he had no option but to find the charge not proven.

He said: “How can I be sure I know what happened outside the house and that it was the accused who was the aggressor? The charge has to be not proven.”

After the case, Mr Storey said: “It is unusual to have a violent incident at a Buddhist retreat. I have been going to them for over 20 years seeking some peace and tranquillity but it didn’t work out that way on this occasion.”

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